In spring 2021, McKinsey and Company – the world’s largest management consultancy – issued their report on the future of the wellness industry. The report contained several insights and revelations about the industry’s market valuation (at least $1.5 trillion), growth forecast (5-10% annually), and consumer opinions (4/5’s of survey respondents cited wellness as having chief importance in their lives). It was a comprehensive report that aimed to size up the wellness industry from several angles.
And buried within the report was an interesting breakdown. Asked to define “wellness,” the overwhelming majority of surveyed consumers pointed to six dimensions:
- Better Exercise, including fitness products and services
- Better Nutrition, including food trends
- Better Appearance, including cosmetics and clothing
- Better Sleep, including mattress products, sleep apps and medication
- Better Mindfulness, including meditation services, yoga and mindfulness apps
- And, the largest of the dimensions defined, Better Health
It is this last consumer-defined category that this article aims to explore. The largest of the six “dimensions,” Better Health refers to any medicine, supplement, superfood product or service consumers use to promote physical and mental wellness.
Let’s take a closer look at this category and try to tease out specific trends and products that have gained popularity over the past few years. Whether you are a consumer or business owner, here is your short guide to understanding the Better Health Dimension of the wellness industry.
Superfoods draw from traditional medicinal practices around the world. Some superfoods have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for millennia; others are important to indigenous cultures of North America or South America.
They all share one thing in common: they are natural products with long histories of use that Western scientists have recently started studying for observable medical benefits.
Over the past few years, functional mushrooms have skyrocketed in popularity. For instance, take an influential superfood company like Rritual Superfoods, which offers functional mushrooms like Chaga, Lion’s Mane and Reishi in powdered form.
Supplements have long been an influential corner of the wellness market. Some might say that supplements were the original wellness industry.
In recent years, consumer attention has shifted from supplements toward other health products (like superfoods or traditional medicinal products), but supplements remain popular.
Old standbys like Vitamin D and Omega 3 supplements continue to sell well. But newer, “trendier” products have also emerged to capture the consumer imagination: collagen, apple cider gummies and melatonin (alongside other sleep aids), to name just a few. It should also be noted that some observers group functional mushrooms in with supplements (because some consumers treat them as a supplement rather than a food).
Industry observers also group health services in with the Better Health dimension of the wellness industry. These services include telehealth, health tracking apps, and consumer devices that manage, monitor or encourage physical health.
Telehealth has obviously witnessed a growth spurt during the pandemic. Health tracking apps have also gained popularity as people strive to maintain their physical health amid restrictions to traditional gym facilities.
It isn’t always easy to understand the sprawling reach of the wellness industry, and the term itself – “wellness” – is nebulously defined. Hopefully, this article clears up the largest facet of the wellness industry by pinpointing the key areas of the market: superfoods, supplements and health services.